First Commandment

OBEY GOD ALONE: The Ten Commandment/ First Commandment/ 81G-021 (Exo. 20:3)/You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3, NKJV)

EXPLORATION: Have no other gods before Me – (Read have Ex 15:11; Exo. 20:3, 23; 34:14; Dt 5:7; 6:5, 14; 18:10; Jsh 24:18-24; 2 Ki 17:29-35; 19:17-18; Ps 29:2; 73:25; 81:9; Is 26:4; 43:10; 44:8; 45:21-22; 46:9; Jer 25:6)

REFLECTION: This commandment deals with the true object of worship. It demands the worship and service of God and of Him only.

[1] The meaning of this commandment:  It means that we are to worship and serve the true God and Him only, Matt. 4:10. We are not to invent, worship, and serve any other god or gods in addition to, or instead of, the true God. This commandment forbids the practice of polytheism and idolatry (the Israelites, the people to whom this commandment was first formally given, had little temptation to practice polytheism but they were continually tempted to practice idolatry).

When we worship any other god in addition to, or instead of, the true God, we worship an invented god for there is no god other than the true one, 1 Cor. 8:4–6 (there are two ways of inventing a false god: (1) by selecting a created being or thing and ascribing to it the attributes of deity or (2) by selecting a created being or thing and giving to it the worship, service, and trust due the true God).

[2] The way men in general break this commandment. Rom. 1:21–32 gives us the steps that men follow in breaking “the First Commandment”:

  • Men are given a revelation of the true God (Rom. 1:18–20)—God reveals Himself through both natural and supernatural revelation.
  • Men reject the revelation of the true God (Rom. 1:23, 25, 28)—They don’t desire to retain God in their knowledge, Rom. 1:28.
  • Men lose their knowledge of the true God (Rom 1:21)—God withdraws knowledge that men reject and then He judicially blinds their eyes to future knowledge. When unsaved men keep on rejecting knowledge, they are committing the unpardonable sin.
  • Men invent false gods (Rom. 1:21)—When men turn from a knowledge of the true God, they invent gods, for man is a religious creature and he must worship something. The Old Testament calls these false gods “inventions,” “vanities,” and “lies.”
  • When men turn from the true God, they deify, worship, and serve angels, departed saints, heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars), ideologies (socialism, communism, etc.), men (heroes), and animals (birds, beasts, creeping things), etc.
  • When men invent, worship, and serve false gods, they break “the First Commandment.”
  • Men become proud (Rom. 1:22)—They take pride in the gods which they have invented. They really have made themselves to be fools in rejecting the true God and creating false gods.
  • Men worship their invented gods through idols (Rom. 1:23)—Instead of worshiping the true God through His glory (His revealed perfections), they worship their invented gods through idols.

[3] The way the Old Testament Israelites broke this commandment. The breaking of “the First Commandment” was the Israelites’ most persistent sin and their greatest sin, for this sin occasioned all their other transgressions of God’s laws.

  • In Egypt, they worshiped the gods of the Egyptians rather than Jehovah, Ezek. 20:7, 8; 23:19–21.
  • In the wilderness, they worshiped the gods of the Moabites and the Ammonites, Amos 5:25, 26, rather than Jehovah.
  • In the land of Palestine, they worshiped the gods of the peoples around them, Judges 2:12, and the heavenly bodies, Jer. 44:15–19; Ezek. 8:16, rather than Jehovah.

[4] The way the whole world will break this commandment. The whole world will worship “the man of sin,” Rev. 13:8, excepting those whose names are written in “the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Who is this “man of sin’? “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4, NKJV)

The Gr. apodeiknumi, “showing himself” mans = “to point out,” “to exhibit,” “to declare.” His taking his seat in the inner sanctuary of the temple reveals that he claims to sit “as God,” that, indeed, “he is God.” Blasphemy can go no further.

“To informed students of the Bible, the marks of identity enumerated in vs. 3, 4 are already familiar, since they are found elsewhere in the Inspired Word. A comparison with Daniel’s prophecy of the blasphemous power that succeeds that of pagan Rome (see on Dan. 7:8, 19–26), and with John’s word picture of the leopardlike beast (see on Rev. 13:1–18), reveals many similarities between the three descriptions. This leads to the conclusion that Daniel, Paul, and John are speaking of the same power, namely, the papacy (GC 49–54, 356). Many commentators apply the term Antichrist, “one who opposes Christ,” or “one who stands in the place of Christ” (cf. on 1 John 2:18), to the power here described.”

“In a larger sense the power here described may be identified with Satan, who has long striven to be “like the most High” (see on Isa. 14:14). “Satan is working to the utmost to make himself as God and to destroy all who oppose his power. And today the world is bowing before him. His power is received as the power of God” (6T 14). “The determination of antichrist to carry out the rebellion he began in heaven will continue to work in the children of disobedience” (9T 230). “In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void. … But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him” (TM 62). “The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight” (GC 593).”[Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 7:271.]

God’s Estimate of the Papal Power. — “By their treatment of His Word the popes have exalted themselves above the God of heaven. This is the reason that in prophecy the papal power is specified as the “man of sin.” Satan is the originator of sin. The power that he causes to alter any one of God’s holy precepts, is the man of sin. Under Satan’s special direction the papal power has done this very work.

Although those standing at the head of the Papacy claim to have great love for God, He looks upon them as haters of Him. They have turned the truth of God into a lie. Tampering with God’s commandments and placing in their stead human traditions, is the work of Satan, and will divorce the religious world from God; for He declares, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” God will fulfill this word (MS 126, 1901).” [Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 7:911.]

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: “Before Me.” Literally, “before my face.” This Hebrew idiom often means “besides me,” “in addition to me,” or “in opposition to me.” Being the only true God, the Lord requires that He alone be worshiped. This concept of but one God was foreign to the polytheistic belief and practice of other nations. God appeals to us to put Him before all else, to put Him first in our affections and in our lives, in harmony with our Lord’s injunction in the sermon on the mount (Matt. 6:33). Mere belief alone will not do, nor even the acknowledgement that He is the one and only God. We owe wholehearted allegiance and devotion to Him as a personal Being whom it is our privilege to know, to love, and trust, and with whom we may have blessed fellowship. Dependence upon something else than God, whether it be wealth, knowledge, position, or friends, places us in peril. It is hard to fight against the allurements of the world, and so easy to trust in that which is visible and temporal (see Matt. 6:19–34; 1 John 2:15–17). In our materialistic age it is not difficult to violate the spirit of this first commandment, by putting our trust and confidence in some earthly convenience or comfort, and in so doing forget the One who created the things we enjoy (see 2 Cor. 4:18). [Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978), 1:602.]

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? Beloved, men today may break this commandment — [1] by serving the following things rather than serving the one true God: Husband, wife, or relative, (Read Matt. 10:33–39, for context) “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33, NKJV); [2] Serving Mammon—”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].” (Matt. 6:24, AMP); [3] Serving our “bellies,” – “Whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things.” (Phil. 3:19, AMP). Beloved, we must put our trust in the one true Jehovah God. We ought to “love the LORD our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind.” (Mt 22:37)

CONFESSION OF OUR SINS: Father in heaven, we thank You again for Your word this morning. We want to confess and repent of our sins collectively. Forgive us Lord, we pray.

Remind us the simple truth of the Bible, that Jehovah–the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One–Himself deserved to be worshiped; because He is the Creator, the Source and Sustainer of all. That He alone is entitled to supreme reverence and worship. That man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. May Thy Spirit remind us not to cherish anything that will lessen our love for You or to interfere with the service due to You.

Help us to “remember the former things of old,” the endless truth that ‘You are God, and there is no other’ like You (Isaiah 46:9). May we render all glory due to You; May we worship and obey You always; May we surrender everything to You. Help us LORD in our renewed commitment to You. We thank You Father, and we confess our sins, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have A Blessed Morning: “3 For we too once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various sinful desires and pleasures, spending and wasting our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared [in human form as the Man, Jesus Christ], 5 He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth (spiritual transformation, regeneration) and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:3-6, AMP)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Doctrines/ Sin/ Sins to Avoid or Confess/ Ten Commandments/ Lesson # 1.